History & Future

BookSpring’s Journey of Literacy and Hope (1974 – Present)

BookSpring emerged in 1974 as “Friends of Reading is Fundamental of Austin” (RIF of Austin), a beacon of literacy in Central Texas. Born from the dream of volunteer doctors and librarians, it has flourished into an essential lifeline for underprivileged families, illuminating the path to literacy for countless children.

In 2008, we turned a new leaf by merging with Capitol Area Reach Out and Read (CAROR), evolving into BookSpring. This pivotal merger broadened our horizons and intensified our influence, propelling us forward in our crusade for childhood literacy.

With a narrative defined by growth, innovation, and steadfast commitment, BookSpring stands as a pivotal chapter in the story of Texas literacy, stewarded by a passionate Consejo de Administración, a dedicate team of staff and volunteers, and empowered by a community united for change.

Landmarks in Literacy: BookSpring’s Major Achievements

  • 1974: Birth of a vision as Friends of RIF of Austin.
  • 1989: Nonprofit status cements our mission as a book access provider and literacy promoter.
  • 2000: Parent Book Club launches, bringing families together through reading.
  • 2008: BookSpring emerges from the merger, a new chapter begins.
  • 2015: Books for Me and ReadWell programs extend beyond Austin, sowing seeds of literacy in new communities.
  • 2016: Open Book program partners with community allies, spreading our wings further.
  • 2017: Partnership with the Andy Roddick Foundation supports higher doses of books (at least 6 per year).
  • 2018: The Reading Survey is established as an annual benchmark for books and reading in our population.
  • 2019:  A strong focus on increasing equity leads to new partnerships and an increase in diverse books.
  • 2020: A 3-year study confirms the significant impact of the higher dose programs with improved reading scores.
  • 2021: Books Beginning at Birth takes off and a statewide initiative unfolds.
  • 2022: A home for hope, as we acquire permanent headquarters and celebrate the distribution of 2 million books.
  • 2023: Honored with the US Library of Congress Best Practices in Literacy Award.

These milestones are more than just accolades; they are the pillars supporting our bridge to the future?a future where every Texan child can hold the power of literacy in their hands, and where families are united by the stories they share.

Each step forward on this timeline marks a stride towards an empowered community where literacy is the birthright of every child, no matter their background. Join us as we continue to write this ongoing story, where every page turned is a new opportunity for learning, growth, and connection through the joy of reading.

Key Leadership

Board Presidents of BookSpring have been, in order:  Michelle Walker-Moak, Heather Burton, Susan Patterson, Judge Amy Clark Meachum, Joan Wabschall, Beth Hallmark, Chris Randazzo, Ann Gass, Suresh Pawah, Drew Schertz, Jillian Bergman, Michelle Bourianoff, Madison Jechow, and Lindsey Stuart.  Executive Directors have been Mindy Gomillion, Mary Hernon, Joan Wabschall, and Emily Ball Cicchini.

Where We’re Going

BookSpring aims to spread our vision across Texas, and continues to operate the Libros para mí y ReadWell programs, Libro abierto y Días de la Primavera del Libro, as well as our home grown Clubes de lectura familiares.  We support parents with at home reading resources like Temas semanales de Bibi y Parent Tips. are continuing to monitor the growth of digital reading, and meeting community requests for e-books through our growing Biblioteca digital.  We’re exciting to be the sole source provider of Libros desde el nacimiento expected through 2026.

We continue to look for best practices in the book access field, to build from our rich history, and keep an eye towards the future: one full of children and families with meaningful connections and an abundance of well-loved books!

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